Politics or Culture?

June 24, 1999

Lately within the Christian community a debate between politics and culture is taking place. Some argue that involvement in politics should only be for defensive purposes, and that we should focus on the culture. Another claims that politics and Christian faith cannot mix and leads to compromise. Others question whether we can even be effective in the political realm. What's a Christian to think?

Talk show host Janet Parshall is truly a national treasure. Her latest column in Family Research Council's Washington Watch is so helpful. She argues that "Politics and culture are inseparable. Our cultural progress is built on the idea that people will be working, in face-to-face community, to improve our country through compassionate efforts that lie outside of the government's expertise."

She cites examples of churches making a difference. Willow Creek church members repairing and giving away 1000 cars to single mothers who could not accept job offers if they did not have transportation. Project Heritage in Denver, renovating 63 apartments to provide temporary housing for 200 people moving from welfare to work.

The debate is not either/or. Politics and culture work together. Politics and Christian outreach work together.

William Wilberforce is just such an example. He served for half a century in the British House of Commons to abolish the slave trade and reform British manners. His success in both areas involved a partnership of politics and culture. As Janet Parshall put it, "He knew that politics would enable him to champion his cause of changing the culture."

He knew (and we must learn) that to be effective, we must be a public witness for truth and righteousness. That witness cannot be limited merely to our homes or churches. We must speak out in every arena that God calls us to, including the political arena.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.